China has long been a favored destination for foreign universities seeking to export their programs, but now a Chinese university is preparing to open the mainland’s first overseas campus.
Soochow University, in Jiangsu Province, is expected to open an affiliate in Laos next year, according to People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party. The report, posted late last month, called Soochow the first foreign education institution to receive approval from the Laotian government to offer undergraduate and graduate programs. The university plans to provide courses for about 5,000 students in Laos, a country of more than six million where only 13 percent of the undergraduate-age population is enrolled in higher education, according to 2008 Unesco statistics.
A university official quoted in the report said Soochow would offer 12 majors, including Chinese language and literature, economy and trade, and engineering. Soochow University, which has about 50,000 students in China, expects the Laos campus to begin enrolling students next year, the report said. While the university will initially send Chinese academics to the Laos campus, it plans to gradually employ more local teachers. The campus is estimated to cost $25 million.